Conquête spatiale : Pour la première fois, une fusée Virgin Orbit atteint l’espace

20 Janvier, 2021, 05:19 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Crédits: Virgin Orbit

À la suite du test, au cours duquel elle a envoyé de petits satellites en orbite basse, la société Virgin a déclaré qu'elle "passerait désormais en service commercial pour sa prochaine mission".

Une fusée de Virgin Orbit a atteint l'espace pour la première fois après un lancement depuis un Boeing 747.

La société de Richard Branson, Virgin Orbit, a lancé avec succès un missile de la pour la première fois le dimanche 17 janvier 2021 Aile d'un Boeing 747 dans l'espace, ouvrant la voie à un nouveau type de placement de satellites à petite échelle. La société de Richard Branson est d'avis qu'en plus d'améliorer la capacité de charge utile de la fusée, cette technique permet au système LauncherOne d'être le service de lancement le plus flexible et le plus réactif au monde et à partir d'une grande variété d'endroits pour accéder à n'importe quelle orbite. La fusée Virgin Orbit de 21 mètres, baptisée LauncherOne, ne décolle pas verticalement, mais est fixée sous l'aile d'un Boeing 747 modifié appelé "Cosmic Girl". Le vol a été réalisé à partir du port aérien et spatial du Mojave au nord de Los Angeles.

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Dès que la bonne altitude est atteinte, l'avion lâche la fusée, qui démarre son propre moteur pour se pousser dans l'espace et mettre sa cargaison en orbite.

Il s'agit d'une méthode, en théorie, plus simple qu'un décollage vertical mais surtout moins coûteuse puisque cela ne nécessite pas de rampe de lancement spécialement pensée. Virgin Orbit veut se positionner sur le marché en pleine croissance du lancement de petits satellites à moindre coût.

Richard Branson a créé une autre société spatiale, Virgin Galactic, qui ambitionne d'envoyer des touristes dans l'espace pour expérimenter l'apesanteur à quelque 80 km de la surface de la Terre.

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